Masons Gin Tour
Masons - the Very Best of Yorkshire in a glass
Sitting in the heartland of North Yorkshire, Masons Distillery is currently a local secret, but it is destined to become a national treasure. The pandemic may have brought more attention to local produce makers, farmers and crafters, but Masons was here before all of them and already has a pedigree to rival the very best.
We came for a Friday afternoon tour of the Bedale/Northallerton plant, expecting a quite functional manufacturing still and over priced gift shop as often befits the ‘craft brewers’ who have suddenly popped into Google Maps. Instead we found a welcoming, sharing, almost embracing feeling that we had been brought into someone’s cottage garden, nursery, hatchery where the love of the produce far out-weighs the commercial sterilisation of so many other breweries/distilleries. The story of Masons is a modern day fairytale – a couple who, after being offered a G&T for lunch instead of the usual aperitif, realised that perhaps others would enjoy the cool, crisp taste and limitless combinations that gin can offer. And so, Masons gin was born. I make lite of the countless hours of development, trying to push a once believed ‘cheap’ ruin, and stand aside from the other ‘mom and pop’ businesses; Mason’s is strong; as rounded and as complex as ALL the other major players in the ever-bourgeoning Gin market but with a very unique element – they are LOCAL. They use local providers, employ local people, celebrate local identity and, as someone from Darlington, they make me proud to declare my heritage.
Our tour began with a complimentary G&T (what else) before the wonderful Jody Craddock (who must have the 2nd best job in the world) gave us a history lesson into the origins and life-cycle of gin as w know it. We were then treated to tour of the distilling process, including making acquaintances with Mason’s 2 stills.
The fascination didn’t stop with the brewing; we were then given access to the secret lair of their master flavouroroligst (name withheld to protect his identity) who spends his days exploring new ingredients to find the best next mix. If his job isn’t THE best for a gin lover then I don’t know what else to ad (short of Brad Pitt as your lab mate).
The tour was concluded with a blind taste test of Mason’s finest; can you tell your Lavender from your Orange Zest, your Cardamom from your All Spice? The tasting session was amazing; I thought I had a discernible palette but under Jody’s expert guidance (she used to buy tea for Yorkshire Tea so she must know what she’s doing) I could taste so many more flavours and nuances that I’d thought possible.
Of course, we had to end the visit buying some gin, and some wonderful new glasses (all at great prices, no hiking for the tourists).
We left Mason’s having enjoyed our tour, sampled some new flavours and, more importantly, having a new found appreciation of the work and research that goes into producing gin; a local gin, a World Class gin.
If you fancy a tour of a real gin distillery, get to see behind the scenes of making a new flavour or listen to the amazing story of how gin has evolved over the years (thanks Jody) then pop yourself over here -